With pre-orders now in full swing and a plethora of tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos proclaiming its price to be beyond reasonable (probably), there’s no doubt that 2016 has started a little rough for Oculus Rift, and perhaps VR in general. It’s not all bad though, when you consider there’s just as many people hyped up about finally getting a hold of the black goggles after all this time.
So, what if you really, and I mean really want one? Luckily for you, dear reader, I’ve compiled five important notes to consider before clicking the buy button. Unless you already have. Have you?
Being a first gen product comes with its fair share of problems, but if the current state of the gaming industry has taught us anything, paying your way into a testing phase comes with some benefits. Now I say testing phase loosely since I’m sure the Oculus Rift has been rigorously put through its paces. What I mean here is, as a brand new product and in the same vein as a new console release from Sony or Microsoft, we all know how bumpy those early months can be.
If your first reason to hold off on buying the Oculus is based solely on the pretence of it not being all that good or buggy, consider this. You could have just as much fun learning the ins and outs of the technology and providing much needed feedback than simply playing a game on your couch. As it stands, early access is a booming market, providing gamers a chance to not only get into their favourite and much anticipated games early, but to help shape and grow it into what it can become.
Yes, the price of the Oculus Rift is a big issue right, but there’s a logical reason for this. As Mike Futter points out in his analysis of the Rifts costs on GameInformer, this isn’t just an accessory to an existing product, but a brand new product line in a similar vein to HD TV’s or Blu-Ray players. Those, if you recall, were mighty expensive upon launch but gradually dropped in price as consumers became more aware and interested in what they provided, and the costs associated with producing them dropped.
Many will happily fork out for the high price tag of an Oculus at launch because they know what to expect from it, but what of the humble gamer? Perhaps if you consider it as a new gaming PC than just another console then the price becomes a little more appropriate.
But if you’re really turned off, don’t fret. If the trend for new technology tells us anything, those prices will eventually go down and, considering the amount of money and time already put into it, the Oculus should evolve over time in much the same way as the PlayStation became the PS2, and so on and so forth.
The Oculus Rift won’t be the only VR unit to receive a retail launch this year, and that can be a problem. With so many other developers and studios working overtime to deliver competitive if not better pieces of tech, will it be worth waiting for HTC or Sony first before going straight to the first available system on the market?
The easy answer is yes. Competition drives the market, and given Oculus is the first to officially state its asking price and rough launch dates, that means the others shouldn’t be too far behind, so waiting until we know the full picture from everyone involved is a smart thing to do.
Better yet, wait and see what people think once the first wave of Oculus reach homes, or read up on what many are saying already through the use of dev kits and demos, there’s definitely not a shortage of stories. From that you can decipher whether it’s worth waiting to see what lies ahead or just go for it now.
Hardware means nothing without games, and for all the talk about Sony having the backing of big name developers, and Valve working with HTC, the Oculus isn’t without its fair share of support.
Harmonix, Insomniac and Crytek are just some of the big names that are working on exclusive content for the VR device, whilst Oculus Studios are working on 20 games themselves that are all slated for release this year and upwards of 100 titles available by the end of 2016. That’s a decent amount right there, especially when you consider that you’ll receive EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky Tale with your pre-order. Oh, and there’s this game called Minecraft…
Truth be told, every VR system will have a killer app or two that could sway your decision, but we don’t really know all that much about a good majority of them yet. That’s kinda the fun though, the mystery of it all.
Finally, there’s the simple fact that virtual reality isn’t exactly a new thing, not at all. How many of you remember playing Decent on VR machines in arcades way back when? We’ve joked, written and dreamt of VR for a long time, and perhaps now the technology has caught up to the concept.
Many consider this just another attempt at burning our wallets away, to gain a valuable foothold in a market that’s becoming increasingly more difficult and challenging to break into. You know … unless you’re Sony or Razer.
Is it really worth it? Put aside everything I’ve just written for a minute and consider this. We’re on the verge of something far bigger than a waggle control on a remote or shouting at a console to turn it on. We’re talking bolder, more elaborate ideas that could come to fruition, the dreams of real life Holodecks like Zero Latency in Melbourne. VR can only get better from here, it’s definitely not a passing fad, you can count on that.
If you do decide to buy an Oculus Rift now, consider yourself part of the first group of explorers within this exciting next step in interactive gaming. Whether it’s a success or not doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Of course, if you don’t shell out and decide to wait, then be sure to be ready for an interesting ride. What you think is the world of gaming is about to become a whole lot different.
But what do you think? Will you be buying an Oculus at launch? Are you going to wait and see what Valve and Sony have in store? Or are you just going to ignore it completely and stick with your Virtual Boy? Let us know in the comments.